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"Murder, She Wrote" star Angela Lansbury dies at 96

Angela Lansbury, renowned actress and singer, dead at 96
Angela Lansbury, renowned actress and singer, dead at 96 00:27

Dame Angela Lansbury, the iconic actress and singer whose career spanned over 80 years in the entertainment industry, has died, her family announced Tuesday. She was 96. 

In a statement, her family said that Lansbury "died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 a.m. ... just five days shy of her 97th birthday."

"In addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre, and David, she is survived by three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury," according to the family statement. "She was proceeded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined."

The London-born Lansbury was a five-time Tony Award winner, most notably for her ghoulish role in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." She also scored Tonys for her work in "Blithe Spirit," "Gypsy," Mame and "Dear World."

In the 1960s, The New York Times referred to Lansbury as the "First Lady of Musical Theatre"

In 1984, she achieved worldwide fame as fictional writer and sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 seasons until 1996, becoming one of the longest-running and most popular detective drama series in television history.

Before her television career, she was considered one of the last film stars of the golden age of Hollywood, having been a contract player with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in the 1940s. 

She held roles in such classic films as Gaslight (1944), State of the Union (1948), The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Death on the Nile (1978). 

Lansbury is also known for her roles in classic children's films as Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Anastasia (1997), The Grinch (2018), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018).

Born and raised in London, she moved to the United States with her family in the 1940s to escape war brewing in Europe, and she continued her studies in drama and acting in New York. They moved to Los Angeles in 1942 as her mother, Irish actress Moyna Macgill, looked to resume her film career. Through her mother, Lansbury met "Gaslight" screenwriter John Van Druten, who helped get her cast in the film, launching her career.

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